The road that led CKY to "Carver City" was not without some perilous twists and turns. In fact, for a time it looked as though the group would never even reach their destination. In 2007, a much publicized band brawl spilled over into a public war of words that saw their ranks split into rival factions. Ultimately, after some back and forth, cooler heads prevailed and all four members were able to put their differences aside. Thus, their Roadrunner Records debut "Carver City" has finally been opened to the public and CKY seem eager for fans take up residence.
Described as a semi autobiographical/conceptual album about a late 70's/early 80's seaside resort town, the intended timeframe of the lore behind the album also plays a crucial role in the sound of it as well. Continuing on with the poppier direction they took on "An Answer Can Be Found", CKY's once rough and rhythmic grooves have been polished to a blinding sheen. While there are a wealth of their trademark intricately hooky riffs present, few possess an actual snarl due to a cleaner distortion and an abundance of layering.
Ah yes, layering, the veritable aural onion CKY have delivered here does take a considerable amount of deciphering to fully appreciate - especially given its seemingly simplistic depth. Most songs are stacked so high that even the blatant nods to the late 70's/early 80's pop/lite rock scene aren't readily apparent. Sadly where this album stumbles is indulgence. In particular the synth histrionics that populate every corner of "Carver City" like a gauntlet of buskers. It is these cheeky little bleeps and bloops that quickly become the most grating thanks to their rampant overuse.
While the band were probably aiming for an updated stylistic implementation of synth and moog that bands like T.Rex and Billy Idol achieved in their halcyon days, they often fall short of that goal. Instead there are some serious cheese moments that would fit right in on a Hall & Oates record. This sweet and sour nature will surely take it's toll on plenty of listeners, especially as the group now opt more for pop outfit than rock.
Still, there are some particularly interesting psych and prog moments that do their best to offset this. But it takes more than a rare twisted glimpse of some full-on Edgar Winter-like weirdness to stave off the rising tide of sugary sweet blandness that washes over this album. That said the more friendly aspects of "Carver City" should bring in plenty of tourists and the dark, lurking nature keep it from being mere "Warped Tour" fodder. Whether or not the bands diehard fans will want to settle down here or just pass on through is still up to debate though.
(3 / 5)